Powered speakers, also known as active speakers, offer many advantages. These speakers have an integrated amplifier. Many people wonder how to connect powered speakers to a mixer.
We take a look at powered speakers and answer the question of how to connect them to your mixer.
The advantages of powered speakers
What makes powered speakers so popular is that they are compact and portable. This makes them ideal if space is limited. They use less power and are user-friendly. The quality is often better on these speakers and they are great value for money.
When used with a mixer, they put less strain on the equipment so you will not burn out your mixer. Your mixing board has numerous functions. It controls the various channels, the volume, the tone, and the dynamics of the audio.
Mixers can be analog, digital, or powered. Powered mixers handle both analog and digital inputs and have an integrated amplifier, although both other options might also have one.
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Connecting powered speakers to a mixer
Connection or lines
The first thing to understand is that mixers use two types of connections. These are unbalanced or balanced lines. Balanced lines are a bit better as they reduce induced sounds. If you are using long cables this is the preferred route. You can use unbalanced lines if the speakers are close to the mixer but you still run the risk of noise interference.
Positioning is important
We have spoken about this before but the positioning of the speakers and other equipment is important. Powered speakers should be placed in front of the listener and in front of the mixer and any microphones. This will reduce feedback or interference.
Test all components
Once everything is connected is advisable to test each aspect. You want to go through all the channels and check the volume, the EQ (equalization), and other functions. Test the speakers together and separately just to be sure.
Run the cables for the speakers
Once you are sure that all aspects are working correctly you want to run the cables for the speakers. Remember that positioning is important so you might need to experiment a bit to get the best output. You want to keep the cables neat and safe so that they do not get in the way or get damaged.
Connect all components
Once you are satisfied that everything is in place and working you can connect all the various components to the mixer. Turn the power off before doing this.
The various input devices will be controlled by the different channels on the mixer. Once connected and powered up you will want to test all aspects separately to ensure all are functioning correctly.
Enhance the settings
Now that everything is connected and working you want to tweak the settings. Different music or audio styles as well as the format will need to be adjusted slightly. Your preference is also important.
The benefits of powered speakers
The advantage of powered speakers (or active speakers) is that they do not rely on an amplifier to deliver volume. This makes them more versatile. While the mixer helps with the various control functions, a powered speaker can do the heavy lifting when it comes to power or volume. Driving your system with a mixer combined with powered speakers gives you the best of both worlds.
Powered or active speakers often save your money as you need to spend less or even nothing on an amplifier. It is, however, best to have both.
What is critical is that you get the connections, positioning, and set up correct. Even getting the left and right speakers is an important aspect.
Just take it one step at a time, test as you go, test when done, and adjust if necessary. This setup should deliver a better quality sound with less hassle and better ease of use. Active speakers use less power and are easy to install.
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The importance of the mixer
While the speakers are essential to musical enjoyment, the mixer plays a critical role. It will allow you to control the volume, timbre, and other sound dynamics. It also allows you to switch audio sources quickly and easily.
Connecting additional powered speakers
Your mixer generally allows for 2 speakers, left and right, and sometimes an outlet for a subwoofer. Certain mixers do allow for additional speakers but if you only have 2 outlets, you can connect more using the daisy chain method. This assumes that your powered speakers are both input and output devices.
You should have outlets called link or mix outputs on your powered speakers. Connect the first 2 speakers in the normal way. Use these outputs to connect to the input of the additional speakers. You could use this method to add even more speakers if necessary.
The best bet is to keep a standard volume across all the speakers. Start at a medium volume and gradually increase if desired. Setting them to full volume is not recommended. Also, ensure that the mixer and other audio equipment are off when you connect the various speakers. Another thing to do is to disable the EQ at speaker level if possible. If this can’t be done, set the speaker EQ as flat as you can and control the EQ via the mixer.
All that is then left to do is get the settings right by experimenting and testing different combinations. You want the volume and frequencies to work in harmony with no distortion or excess in any specific frequency range.
Connecting powered speakers to a mixer is a relatively simple task provided you take it one step at a time. It offers many advantages and when done correctly delivers quality sound and excellent volume.